With Stephen Strasburg preparing for his third major league start tonight at Nationals Park, it is not lost on anyone outside the D.C. metro area that Strasburg mania is reaching all over the baseball world and into other sports.
Kentucky guard and soon-to-be-No. 1 selection in the NBA draft, John Wall, noticed Strasburg in his visit to Washington. "I saw the debut of Strasburg; it was a big-time debut. The 14 strikeouts means a lot. He got pied in the face. It (was) pretty big."
In Cleveland, I visited the Strasburg-only merchandise stand inside Progressive Field near Section 164. The gentleman working the counter, Brian, told me red StrasburgT-shirts in adult size medium and large had already sold out.
He also said this was the only time the Indians had dedicated an entire concession stand to another team's player this season or in recent memory.
They had Strasburg jerseys (regular $100.00, only $75.00 for a pre-Father's Day special). A Nats fan from Columbus, OH bought a Strasburg home jersey because he was a true blue (or should I say 'red') Nats fan from way back, but loves the addition of #37.
Brian offered that it's very rare to have an opposing team's items available for sale inside the stadium. The only evidence of anything from any other team was a commemorative baseball celebrating the Indians' three series against National League teams.
In Detroit, MASN's Debbi Taylor told me the Strasburg mania had reached the motor city.
"Lots of fans were looking for Strasburg autographs and the Detroit media spoke with Strasburg, even though he was not scheduled to pitch in the series," Debbi said.
After all, with FOX television's decision to broadcast Saturday's game against the White Sox, you can understand how executives might have assumed that Strasburg was going to start tomorrow on five games rest instead of the team planned five days rest. Hence, tonight's third start.
I'm just upset my Sports Illustrated (with Stephen Strasburg on the cover) didn't arrive Thursday as it usually does. I wonder if our mailman is a huge Strasburg fan?